OU Unfiltered: Steven Parker

Sophomore defensive back talks up-and-coming freshmen, competition on Sooners' back end

Is it nice to get things moving again?

I feel like just as a team, we’re very anxious to get on the field. We’ve been waiting for so long just to basically give ourselves a name again, basically we felt like we lost our edge last year, so this year is really just about how hungry do we really wanna be? Basically we just want to go out there and prove to everybody who Oklahoma football really is. We’re very anxious to get out there on the field.

Communication was a big reason for the secondary struggling last season. Has that improved this year?

Just this camp, it’s been awesome, just because he’s tried to get everything out of us is what he always tries to tell us, basically being a man on and off the field, just making our presence known. He really puts a big emphasis on communicating among each other and making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.

How has the competition been within the group?

The competition has been very, very tough. Everyone’s trying to battle for a position. We couldn’t ask for a better group of safeties and corners, and basically, everyone is going out there competing at will and just trying to earn them a spot. The competition’s really great.

Has it made you better?

Yes, definitely. It’s made everybody better, not just me.

After struggling last season, does the defense have a chip on its shoulder?

Yes sir, definitely. That’s the mentality I’m gonna use every single game, but that’s also what our defense is gonna use, just being out there, being hungry, being one of the top defenses this year. That’s a goal of ours. We’re gonna try to meet our goals and basically set some standards around here.

What are some of the defensive goals this season?

I would say some defensive goals we have are basically try to be the best defense in the Big 12, or actually be the best defense in the Big 12, and also be the best defense in the nation. Pass defense, run defense, all of it.

Anything statistically or do you just want to be the best?

Just want to be No. 1. We probably have some statistics about interceptions, fumbles and all that kind of stuff, but we don’t really get into it. We basically just say we’re hungry this year and we’re gonna go out there and compete.

What are you telling the current group of true freshmen about playing so early?

Basically I tell them the same thing that I was told my freshman year. You’re only one injury away from being on the field. You guys have to know your stuff just like we do. That’s what I tell that. That’s all I can really tell them.

Who are some young guys that are standing out to you?

P.J. (Mbanasor has) been a really good corner this fall camp. He’s improving every single day. He puts emphasis on basically coming out there and playing. Our coach always makes him work on his technique, but P.J. is gonna be a very good player for us. He’s definitely gonna have to be ready this year. Kahlil Haughton, too. Kahlil is a guy who I play right beside. He’s playing strong safety and a little bit of nickel, so that’s a person I have to teach. Kahlil has done a great job of listening and basically just doing what he needs to do to try to get on the field.

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